Microsoft and Icahn Launch Weekend Strike at Yahoo

14 July 2008

SUNNYVALE, California: As sporting legends with a killer instinct like Mike Tyson and Roger Federer know from birth, never, ever allow your opponents to get into their stride. As the Yahoo-hunting alliance of Microsoft and Carl Icahn is equally well aware.

On Friday night a revised bid proposition thudded onto the internet portal's doormat. According to Yahoo, it posited a deal that would segment Yahoo's search business to Microsoft and the remainder of the company into the maw of the corporate raider.

Moreover, the proposal was conditional on the removal of Yahoo's entire board and senior management.

And in archetypal double-whammy style, Yahoo was given just twenty-four hours in which to review and respond to the deal. 

The Yang Gang didn't need that long. 

By return they delivered a resounding 'niet', 'non', 'no way'. Suggesting instead that they would be willing to sell 100% of Yahoo to Microsoft for a minimum of $33 per share.

Alternatively to negotiate an improved transaction involving only Yahoo's search business.

Microsoft also wasted no time. Seemingly expecting just such a response it rejected both offers.

Yahoo, for its part, criticized Microsoft's "completely absurd and irresponsible" condition that it wouldn't deal with Yahoo's management to reach agreement on the new proposal. 

Declared the portal's chairman Roy Bostock: "This odd and opportunistic alliance of Microsoft and Carl Icahn has anything but the interests of Yahoo's stockholders in mind.

"It is ludicrous to think that our board could accept such a proposal. While this type of erratic and unpredictable behavior is consistent with what we have come to expect from Microsoft, we will not be bludgeoned into a transaction that is not in the best interests of our stockholders."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff